McAuliffe speaks ‘with a forked tongue’

Published 3:11 pm Thursday, January 19, 2017

Wednesday evening Gov. Terry McAuliffe spoke to the joint session of the House and Senate. He was his usual bombastic self. He spoke of looking forward to working  in a bi-partisan manner with the General Assembly on the many challenges before Virginia. I applaud that attitude. However, almost in the next breath, he clearly indicated that he would veto any legislation in which he disagreed. He bragged that he had vetoed 71 bills so far during his administration (a record) and none had been overridden. So, the question is this: Is it only when the General Assembly agrees with him that he is willing to be bi-partisan?

The legislative proposals (bills) have been rolling in. If this year is the same as most years, more will die in the legislative process than will be approved and passed into law. There are many reasons that bills are offered. The greatest reason is that citizens have found a reason that an existing law has wronged them or at least appeared to wrong them. We, as their voice in Richmond, have a responsibility to at least determine if a real problem exists. Sometimes simply introducing a bill encourages state officials to look at the problem from a different perspective and policy changes without passage of a law. Other times, changes are needed because the world around us has or is changing. An example of this is my legislation last year to better address work force training at our community colleges. This year, I am asking them to develop a policy at every community college regarding apprenticeship programs.

Some bills are offered simply to get legislators into the headlines. In the last several weeks, not only has the governor, but also the lieutenant governor and the attorney general, announced with fanfare their proposals. Since they cannot introduce bills they must find a legislator who will. If you listen to the news conferences, you miss that.

Frank Ruff represents Lunenburg in the Virginia Senate. His email address is